Have you ever wondered why farmers rotate their crops? Did you even know this was something they do?
Returning to the Midwest and being surrounded by fields has offered me an opportunity to reconnect with the natural rhythm of things. And, I started to notice a connection between the way we nurture and cultivate the land with the way we nurture and cultivate a business.
Just like farmers need to rotate their crops (and even leave a field empty from time to time) so, too, does an entrepreneur need to take time to reflect on and rotate their crops each year.
While it is quite natural to a farmer, it can feel pretty uncomfortable to someone who is under the impression that pausing and even possibly removing something from her business is detrimental. For me, while I was exploring this idea, it felt like I was being lazy or letting people down or backing out of my commitments.
Then, I learned something that made so much sense and served as a really important reminder.
When farmers don’t rotate their crops, many problems arise. The land becomes “tired,” less fertile, and yields less and less. In addition, pests can reach an uncontrollable number given their food source continues to be planted. And, finally, erosion of the land is more likely if the same type of crop is planted season after season.
What does this have to do with building a business?
As someone who is self-employed, it is important to take time to reflect, surrender to slowing down, and rotate your crops.
In my case, this slowing down, reflecting on where I am putting my energy, and then choosing which “crops” to rotate out this year has allowed me to get clearer on what I want to focus on and rebuild a stronger foundation from which to launch those ideas.
Though it can feel a little scary or unnatural to shift gears, this is a great time to get curious and see if your fields need to be replenished or planted with something new this season.
Here are a few things I realized were required of me as I started to play with this concept:
First, I had to slow down and reflect on things.
This doesn’t always feel comfortable to do. Barbara Stanny, author of Sacred Success, calls this period of time “reflective surrender” and it is essential to all creators, doers, and makers.
Second, I had to be willing to shift gears, give some things a break, and possibly try something new.
For those of us who are worried we might let people down or maybe even fail, this can be a little harder than it seems. But the greatest thing of being the creator is that we get to decide when and what we create.
Third, this process requires a ton of trust that everything will be okay.
It can feel a little nerve-wracking to stop doing something that has been working just fine up until now or try something that hasn’t yet been fully vetted through. That’s where the trust comes in—remembering that everything was once new and had to be planted for the first time.
When we rotate our crops as business owners, we create space and time to ensure our souls are replenished, nagging habits and auto-pilot thinking are cleared away, and our foundations are strengthened.